ISO running

ISO running tips

5 running tips to keep you injury free

In this post I, Dr Jamey Pemmelaar (Osteo), will cover my top 5 running tips to stay injury free, optimise your performance and get the most out of your running. As well as being an Osteopath, I’m also a level 2 recreational run coach, have a bachelor degree in exercise science and and an avid runner myself. Therefore these tips are based on what I have learnt throughout my experiences in all of those fields. I hope they help you stay active and injury free with your ISO running. 

1. Assess your shoes

Your feet are super important when you take to the concrete, oval or track for a run. If you don’t find your shoes comfortable, your feet or shins hurt while running or you’ve had them for more than 12 months – it may be time for an upgrade. The biggest determinant of injury/pain in relation to shoes is comfort level. If you find them comfortable, they are less likely to cause you pain. Therefore make sure they are comfortable.
In terms of your current shoes, can you bend your shoes in half? Twist them easily? Or they have significant wear patterns on them? If yes, a new pair is recommended. Experts in the field say that each pair of runners should get you about 500-700kms however this can depend on your running technique, the surface you run on and the style of the shoe. To be on the safe side I personally ‘retire’ my running shoes after approx 500kms. In their retirement they become my gym or walking shoes. I recommend you do the same. 

2. From 0 to 100

If you’re like me and 70% of my patients, you’ll most likely try and do too much too soon. This is a sure way to end up either injured or too sore after your runs. Following a progressive plan that has been designed for you (or someone of similar needs) is the best way to start running. You can get access to basic run programs by downloading something like the couch to 5km app, a fantastic free option for beginners. Alternatively you can sign up to one of our running programs for more of a guided run plan. You can even have a go at designing your own (read our progressive overload and periodisation blog posts for tools that will help you develop a safe and effective plan).
Additionally warming up and cooling down are pivotal. Do not in any case skip them. 

3. Maintain or add in some strength work

I commonly see people undertake a running program prior to taking any strength training, this is likely to lead to injury. I’m a big fan of combining strength training and running as safe practice for injury prevention. The purpose of strength training isn’t to leave you with ‘big leg muscles’. It’s more to strengthen and stabilise your ankles, knees and hips to ensure you can distribute the ‘load’ of running to the correct joint and/or muscles. Too often I’ve seen people with insufficient glute (buttock) strength which then leads to the knees taking too much load. Subsequently ending up with a knee injury of some description. 
Unsure what strength movements to do? We have a Runners strength circuit video you can watch. This gives you a basic program to follow with the most beneficial movements (in my opinion). 

4. You have to slow down to go fast

I’ve found it’s common for runners of all shapes and skill levels tend to run the same (or a similar) pace for all of their runs. I’m a big fan of varying your running pace both within a session (E.g. interval training) and between runs (E.g. a cruisy run on a Monday and a challenging run on a Wednesday). This not only leads to greater improvement but is also allows for adequate recovery. 
The principle here is, every time you run don’t try to kill yourself and make it super hard. It’s a sure fire way to end up unmotivated and possibly injured. 

5. Rest like the best

You see a lot of posts on Instagram, Facebook and the likes about how hard someone is working. I’m here to tell you that what makes someone a ‘better’ runner isn’t how hard they work. It’s how well they rest. A lot of people (including myself) are scared to rest because they feel social pressure to always be doing something. However here’s the thing, resting is doing something. Resting like the best doesn’t mean doing nothing, chilling on the couch watching Netflix with a tub of ice cream (I’m guilty of this at times). It’s an active process where you undertake in something you know is going to help you recover.
My top five recommendations are; walking in nature, cold therapy (aka cold shower or beach), yoga/Pilates/light stretching, spending down time with family/friends and doing an activity you enjoy (for me that is most commonly meditating, reading or doing a puzzle). 

That's a wrap

There you have my 5 tips for injury free and optimal ISO running. We hope this helps you re-think your training and optimise your running as opposed to maximising it (aka doing as much as you can). 

We also have more videos available in our rehab room and on our YouTube channel, be sure to check them out. Plus our blog has many a post of running performance, check it out also! 

Thanks for reading and watching, 
Stay safe, 
Dr Jamey Pemmelaar (Osteo) 
Kensington Vic